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Pope Francis in Brazil, security an ongoing issue

By April Neale Jul 23, 2013, 18:42 GMT

Pope Francis in Brazil, security an ongoing issue

A poll from the respected Datafolha group published Sunday in the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo said 57 percent of Brazilians age 16 and older call themselves Catholic, the lowest ever recorded. In 1980, when Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff to visit Brazil, 89 percent listed themselves as Catholics, according to that year\'s census. EPA/OSSERVATORE ROMANO /

Pope Francis was touring in downtown Rio de Janeiro, and reportedly made a wrong turn which sent the Fiat carrying the Pope into a crowd that was described as "frenzied" in Rio on Monday.

The Associated Press reports that the Vatican and Brazilian plainclothes security officials struggled to keep the crowds managed but Pope Francis  was unfazed and got even closer to the people. He rolled down his back-seat window, waved to the crowd and touched those who reached inside. He kissed a baby a woman handed to him.

"His secretary was afraid," papal spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said, according to the AP. "But the pope was happy."

Pope Francis is in Brazil on a seven-day visit, and he reportedly switched his method of transport to an open-air vehicle as he toured around the main streets in downtown Rio through mobs of people who screamed wildly as he waved and smiled. He left his popemobile — the bulletproof one — in the Vatican garage so he could better connect with people during the church's World Youth Day.

The Vatican insisted they had no concern for the pope's safety as his vehicles eased through the masses, but Lombardi acknowledged that there might have been some "errors" that need correcting.

As many as 1 million young people from around the world are expected in Rio for the Catholic youth fest.

Francis is differentiating himself from past Pontiffs by his recorded acts of humilty and vows of a less pretentious reign as the head of the Catholic Church. "So let me knock gently at this door," Francis said in Portuguese at the official welcome ceremony. "I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given to me: Jesus Christ."

"People get their dignity from work, they earn their bread," he told reporters aboard the plane. "Young people in this moment are in crisis."

"There are no concerns for security. The concerns are that the enthusiasm is so great that it's difficult to respond to so much enthusiasm for the pope. But there is no fear and no concern," he told reporters.

 



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